Our relationships with others significantly influence how we cope with and respond to trauma ; the researchers Fedesch and Calhoun (2006) suggested that specific reasons as to why this should be so included the following :
- other people may positively alter how we view the world and how we interpret and perceive events
- other people may introduce us to additional coping methods
- other people may provide us with social support
Other researchers (e.g. Cordova et al., 2001 ; Leopore and Revenson, 2006) suggest that relationships with others in which we feel safe to make emotional disclosures may be of particular value.
Leopore and Revenson also suggest that our relationships with others can help with how we respond to trauma in the following ways :
- weakening the connection between the trauma and negative emotional responses and replacing them with positive emotional responses
- helping us to regulate (control) our negative emotions connected to the trauma by shifting our focus of attention
- helping us to habituate to negative emotions connected to the trauma
- facilitating positive cognitive reappraisals in relation to the trauma
Other Ways That Relationships And Social Support May Be Of Benefit :
- Through his research, Weiss (2004) found that those who had suffered traumatic experiences can benefit in particular by having social relations with others who have also lived through trauma and who have not only coped with it, but have also experienced posttraumatic growth in response to their traumatic experiences and can, therefore, act as role-models.
- Schroevers et al., (2010) conducted research suggesting that having other people to help the individual who has suffered trauma cognitively process information connected with the traumatic experience can also be of significant benefit
The Importance Of Avoiding Negative And Critical Social Interaction :
Research also suggests that, in the aftermath of trauma, it is at least as important (and, perhaps, even more important), to avoid negative and critical social interaction in the aftermath of trauma as it is to find positive support if one wishes to experience posttraumatic growth.
David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).